Tag Archives: Dalits

Over 10,000 Feminist groups and individuals condemn gangrape and murder of dalit woman in hathras

Received via SAHELI WOMEN’S RESOURCE CENTRE

We condemn the horrific rape and murder of a young Dalit woman from Hathras, UP.

We stand with the family in their sorrow. Extend support, solidarity and rage.

We demand immediate action against the state officials responsible for mishandling the case, destroying key evidence, and further traumatising the family and community.

SHAME ON THE STATE THAT STANDS WITH THE GUILTY.
SHAME ON THE STATE THAT INCREASES THE IMPUNITY WITH WHICH UPPER CASTE FORCES COMMIT VIOLENCE AND HATE CRIMES.

Today, over 10,000 people from all walks of life, cutting across caste, religion, gender, occupation and community came together from almost every state in India and more than a dozen countries across the world such US, UK, Canada, Australia, UAE, Hong Kong, Japan, Nepal, Netherlands, Sweden, Slovenia etc to demand justice for the heinous rape, brutalising attack and murder of a young Dalit woman from Hathras.

In a sharp statement condemning the incident, they got together to say thatdespite a continuing saga of countless other cases of brutal sexual assault and murders especially of young Dalit women the conscience of this nation does not seem to be shaken enough to do anything serious to stop the systematic targeting of women, Dalits and the poor.

While there is a historicity to these incidents, but under CM Yogi’s rule, Uttar Pradesh has only gone from bad to worse. Crimes against women and Dalits have increased, and police have been given unlimited powers without any accountability. Today UP tops the charts for atrocities against Dalits, it also tops the charts for crimes against women.

Continue reading Over 10,000 Feminist groups and individuals condemn gangrape and murder of dalit woman in hathras

A Crime of ‘Pure’Indifference

The ethic that dehumanises dalits continues 72 years after the country’s Independence.

A Crime of ‘Pure’

What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless… There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

These fiery lines from a speech delivered on July 4, 1852 in New York by Frederick Douglass, a former slave who had become a national leader of the abolitionists, rattled a predominantly White audience. The speech was delivered 10 years before slavery in the Southern states was abolished.

More than 80 years later, on August 14, 1931, Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, a Columbia University and London School of Economics graduate, who was then leading a movement of the oppressed and exploited in India, met Mahatma Gandhi for the first time. “Gandhiji, I have no homeland,” Ambedkar told Gandhi, according to a transcript of that meeting. “No untouchable worth the name will be proud of this land.” As expected, the Varna (caste) mindset that dominated India then did not take kindly to Ambedkar’s charge.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/A-Crime-Pure-Indifference-Dehumanises-Dalits)

Cyclone Fani: Prejudice in Times of Natural Disasters

Caste discrimination, even while faced with a calamity, is a clear outcome of the brahminical ideology of purity and pollution that has permeated deep into Indian society.

Cyclone Fani: Prejudice in Times of Natural Disasters

Image Courtesy: Al Jazeera

“[U]ntouchability, is a kind of disease of the Hindus…it is a mental twist…. I do not know how my friend is going to untwist the twist which the Hindus have got for thousands of years unless they are all sent to some kind of hospital.’ Dr B.R.Ambedkar , 1954

Cyclone Fani is over.

Despite being one of the strongest cyclones to hit India in last two decades the manner in which the state most affected by it — Odisha — was successful in keeping loss of life and numbers of affected people to a minimum has earned it kudos even from its critics.

People are slowly trying to pick up threads to restart their lives

It is rather difficult to say whether it will be easy for dalit villagers of Baripada village — part of Patali panchayat — to do so, who had to endure callous and inhuman behaviour from their own village brethren, during the stormy winds. Around 85 of them from 25 families were denied entry to three shelters located within a radius of approximately four km by ‘upper caste’ people. Nandini (name changed) belonging to the Dom caste narrated how they had to ultimately take shelter beside an uprooted banyan tree, while it was raining heavily.

( Read the full text here : https://www.newsclick.in/cyclone-fani-prejudice-times-natural-disasters)

Sewer Workers Deaths – The Meaning of Dalit for Bhartiya Janta Party

Guest post by PRAVEEN VERMA

If Prime Minister Narendra Modi were to write about the recent deaths of sewer workers in India, the headline would be:

Some people attained moksha (nirvana) while experiencing spirituality,

Protest against deaths in sewers, photo courtesy The Hindu

In his casteist book Karmayog, he wrote that manual scavenging is a spiritual experience, hence if some people die during cleaning sewers manually, that would be attaining moksha! In a caste Hindu society this should have been a matter of joy, that even in Kaliyuga, there are still some ‘pious’ soul who could give up all moh-maya and do this punya karma! How true this depiction/ description, one feels like saying: why not make the umpteen godmen-led spiritual movements in India take this route to spiritual moksha? This would perhaps have saved the many rapist-rioter babas from arrest and they could truly do their prayaschit (atonement) in these various, very Indian jails. This is after all the real world of this ‘spiritual experience’ of manual scavenging/sewer cleaning, where ‘Moksha’ means institutional killing!

Continue reading Sewer Workers Deaths – The Meaning of Dalit for Bhartiya Janta Party

Statement on Atrocities on Dalits : New Socialist Initiative

Guest Post by New Socialist Initiative

New Socialist Initiative Condemns Hindutva Engineered and Inspired Atrocities on Dalits

Hardly a day passes without headline news of some or another atrocity on Dalits. On 24 May, a Dalit man in the Ahmedabad district was beaten and his house attacked by a gang of socalled ‘upper’ caste men after he had attached Sinh to his name on his facebook post.  On 21 May a dalit ragpicker was beaten to death in a Rajkot factory. Atrocities on Dalits are occurring in the midst of a public ideological environment against them. On 26 May news came of a private school in Delhi asking 8th class students to write a note on how reservations help undeserving and unqualified people for their summer vacation homework.  According to National Crime Record Bureau reports for recent years, between 10 to 15 thousand cases of crimes are reported under the Prevention of Atrocities act every year; an average of 35 crimes per day. Many times more crimes actually go unreported. In 2016 Indian courts had over 45 thousand cases under this act. Out of the 4048 cases decided, conviction occurred in 659 cases only. That is, five out of six cases of atrocity against Dalits did not result in any punishment. The number of attacks against one of the weakest and the poorest sections of the society, and the abysmal rate of conviction would put any civilized society to shame, but India chugs along. Continue reading Statement on Atrocities on Dalits : New Socialist Initiative

Photo Story on Bhim Army Rally in Delhi: Debalin Roy

Guest post by DEBALIN ROY

Debalin Roy takes us to some specific moments in the rally, aside from the bird’s eye view of the massive rally that we have already seen.

Dalits from all over northern India gathered at Jantar Mantar, Delhi on the 21st of May to protest the Saharanpur violence and increasing atrocities on Dalits across the country.

Although there were representatives from various states, especially from Haryana, U.P. and Rajasthan, Bhim Army took the center stage, with their blue flags waving like a giant dark blue field of tall grass, shaking and waving with every chant of Jai Bhim.

Continue reading Photo Story on Bhim Army Rally in Delhi: Debalin Roy

Ambedkar and the Environmental Tradition

The 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar was celebrated in April 2016 all around, so much so that the United Nations, for the first time, observed this day with a focus on achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As we know, the 17 goals along with 169 targets and 304 indicators, adopted in September 2015, aspire to transform our world by balancing the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. The ‘plan of action for people, planet and prosperity’ has environment at its core, along with poverty and inequality: to ‘protect planet’, create ‘healthy environment’, and ensure equality, dignity and development ‘in harmony with nature’. And Ambedkar is found in this regard to be an apt and inspiring leader.

The world can see traces of Ambedkar’s vision in the SDGs and can find his views relevant for environmental sustainability, but not the Indian environmentalists! Indian environmental movements marginalize Ambedkar. From a historical past, environmental scholars have placed Gandhi at the apex of their inspiration. Recently, Nehru and Indira Gandhi too have been constructed through an ecological lens. However, Ambedkar’s engagement with the environmental question has been relatively unexplored, even when his thoughts and interventions on nature, village, land, agriculture, water, community, industry, technology and science are some of the enduring issues of India’s environmental and political traditions. In comparison with Gandhi, credited with having an intuitive critique of modern civilization, Ambedkar has often been criticized for his modernization vision, which it is argued, drew heavily on the west for inspiration (Nagaraj 2010: 56-7)

Continue reading Ambedkar and the Environmental Tradition

Cow-Gangs of Akhand Bharat and the Dalit Revolt – Hindutva Unravels

As the cow-gangs of Hindutva go on a rampage and the the prime minister, Narendra Modi, adopts a posture of strategic silence, the country is rapidly being pushed to the brink of a civil war. This might sound a trifle far-fetched but classically, when large numbers of people begin to believe that there is no government for them, the time is not far when they will start making preparations for defending themselves. It started with the attacks on Muslims but soon enveloped the Dalits as it was bound to. The Una incident, which sparked off a veritable revolt, was followed up by subsequent attacks in Lucknow. The Progressive Dairy Farmers’ Association in Punjab, involving large number of Sikh farmers, has also been fighting continuing harassment and violence by cow-gangs of Hindutva in Punjab for some time now. The PDFA president has also stated that they might be forced to act in self-defense. The president Daljit Singh Gill, in fact, reportedly told mediapersons that “(I)f someone attacks the farmers, we will stop them now,” and “(I)f something goes wrong, it is the government’s responsibility.”

Even as the cow-gangs continue with their vigilantism unrestrained and unchecked, a large demonstration yesterday at Jantar Mantar by Samta Sainik Dal, actually sent out yet another signal. It spokespersons said in so many words that they were now prepared to take on the cow-gangs physically, if and where necessary.

Tracing SSD’s lineage back to Dr Ambedkar’s initiative in the 1924, the President of the organization openly blamed the ‘Manuvadi’ forces, in cahoots with the police and bureaucracy, backed by the government. He was candid that it is not the Sikhs or Muslims or Christians who are attacking the Dalits today but the Hindus who are doing it in the name of nationalism and that people were now in a mood to fight back unitedly together.

Not only is Modi’s deafening silence now coming to be seen as a sign of encouragement and complicity, with BJP leaders like Hyderabad MLA Raja Singh openly justifying the Una attack, and no action being taken against him by the party yet, it is clear that this vigilantism is endorsed by the highest quarters in the party. For those who may have missed seeing Raja Singh’s video, this is what he said:

“Jo Dalit gaye ke maas ko le ja raha tha, jo uski pitai hui hai, woh bohut hi achhi hui hai (Those Dalits who were taking the cow, the cow meat, those who were beaten, it was a very good thing to happen).

Continue reading Cow-Gangs of Akhand Bharat and the Dalit Revolt – Hindutva Unravels

Cow Vigilantism as Terror : New Socialist Initiative

Guest Post by  New Socialist Initiative

Can the Saffron Establishment ever wash its hands of the growing menace?

(For Hindi version, click the link http://nsi-delhi.blogspot.in/2016/07/blog-post_26.html)

( Courtesy : Cartoonist Satish Acharya, https://www.facebook.com/cartoonistsatishacharya/)

Cow vigilantism which has received tremendous boost since the ascendance of BJP at the centre got its first fitting reply in Gujarat recently. The way in which a self-proclaimed Gau Rakshak Dal – owing allegiance to Shiv Sena – attacked a group of Dalits in Una (11 th July 2016) who were skinning a dead cow, publicly flogged them, led them to the police station charging them with cow slaughter and even circulated a video of the whole incident on social media to spread further terror, has caused tremendous uproar. Continue reading Cow Vigilantism as Terror : New Socialist Initiative

Slow violence and the Spectacle – Dispossession, segregation, and the Chennai Floods: Priti Narayan

Guest post by PRITI NARAYAN

[This article is followed by a detailed survey report on the losses sustained by people during the Chennai floods, which can be read here.]

“How, in an age that venerates the instant and the spectacular, can one turn attritional calamities starring nobody into stories dramatic enough to rouse public sentiment,” asks scholar Rob Nixon, in his discussion of Rachel Carson’s seminal 1962 book Silent Spring. It is a question worth asking now, in the aftermath of the floods in Chennai.

The floods were spectacular, the initial neglect by the national Indian media notwithstanding. Enough has been written about both about the floods themselves, and the spectacle of thousands of Chennai residents pouring onto the streets and into the water to undertake rescue, relief and rehabilitation work. Now that the spectacle is fading and the celebration of the city’s spirit is dying down, perhaps we can examine the floods more objectively. Not that the deluge has not deserved the attention it has received – reports estimate that over 400 lives have been claimed, and anywhere between 1.8 to 2 million people have been displaced.

But we do not talk as much about the “attritional calamity” that involves the dispossession of the poor of their land  and their subsequent displacement to the peripheries of the city.The lack of affordable housing stock has historically led the poor to occupy land in the central city, from where they access livelihood and educational opportunities. Their location in the city has enabled them to contribute invaluable labour and services to the city’s economy. Off late however, development projects are putting immense pressure on land in the Indian city. Strategies to make a world class city –“beautification”, “development” and “eco-restoration” – envision no place for the poor in Chennai.Transparent Cities Network estimates that at least 1,50,000people from 63 slums have been displaced for development projects over the course of the last 15 years. Not all those displaced have been rehabilitated: at least 22,000 people have been left homeless. There are no estimates of the number of people who have died during displacement or after resettlement, but the instances of crime(including trafficking, prostitution, and mafia-style murders) and suicides in these government-created ghettoes tell a sordid tale. Continue reading Slow violence and the Spectacle – Dispossession, segregation, and the Chennai Floods: Priti Narayan

Anti-Conversion and Ghar Wapsi, Or Hindutva’s Doublespeak: Charu Gupta

Guest post by CHARU GUPTA

The synchronised vocabulary of anti-conversion by the BJP and that of reconversion by the VHP and Dharm Jagran Samiti, an RSS affiliate, reveals the intimate relationship between the two. Anti-conversion and reconversion are two sides of the same coin. Even though the Dharm Jagran Samiti dropped its plan to ‘reconvert’ 4000 Christians and 1000 Muslim families in Aligarh on 25 December, due to pressures from a parliament in session as well as other protests, the day has had strategic significance. Christmas Day has been given a different meaning by the Hindutva brigade — the birth anniversaries of Madan Mohan Malaviya, one of the stalwarts of the Hindu Mahasabha, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the eminent BJP leader. Equally critically, on 23 December 1926 Swami Shraddhanand, the leading ideologue of the shuddhi movement (purification; Hindu movement in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries to reclaim those who had converted from Hinduism to other religions) was assassinated by a Muslim fanatic, and on 25 December, a condolence motion was moved at the Guawhati session of the Congress.

The twin strategies of anti-conversion and ghar wapsi have a long history and past, which saw its efflorescence in the shuddhi movement, but have become much more aggressive in the present context. As part of their community and nation making rhetoric, the Arya Samaj and the Hindu Mahasabha had launched the programme of shuddhi on a large scale in Uttar Pradesh in 1923. Though Arya Samaj had stronger roots in Punjab, shuddhi movement was more effective in UP. Various scholars have pointed to the communal character of the movement. A note prepared by the criminal investigation department at that time stated that though the movement had older origins, ‘its application to mass rather than individual conversion gave it a special prominence’ in 1923. Shuddhi came to be touted as a movement to reclaim the ‘victims’ and protect the ‘faithful’. Reconversion attempts have since been a part of agenda of various Hindutva outfits, and the present assertions should be seen in that context. Today, organisations like the VHP and Dharm Jagran Samiti have acquired a new importance and are emboldened to not only challenge conversions in an organised manner, but also to simultaneously aggressively campaign for reconversion. Just as shuddhi became an instrument for Hindu communal mobilization in early twentieth century, ghar wapsi is fulfilling the same role today. Continue reading Anti-Conversion and Ghar Wapsi, Or Hindutva’s Doublespeak: Charu Gupta

The Indian Illusion: Shashank Kela

Guest post by SHASHANK KELA

Some time ago, I wrote an article seeking to dissect certain myths about Indian politics – and the class that dominates it, despite protestations to the contrary, the middle-class.[1] It is one of the habits of this class to see, and self-pityingly portray itself as victim – of mass politics, reservation policies, the great unwashed, of politicos bent upon appeasing the poor at the cost of sound principles and policies. Its conviction, of course, is that India was great, and on the cusp of becoming so again. This unfading glory is no more to be disputed than the existence of the sun, although opinions differ upon the precise placement of our golden age.

To the rabid fanatics of Hindutva, it resides in an unspecified Vedic time, when Hindus (not Indians) mysteriously succeeded in inventing aeroplanes, dynamite, nuclear weapons, the wheel, zero, and what have you (and mysteriously losing most of these wonderful things). To the Nehruvians, it is the age of Akbar, Ashoka, Harsha, periods of syncreticism and unique tolerance, where people of different faiths lived together peacefully and a composite culture flowered. To them, and to Gandhians, it also resides in the figure of Gandhi and the tradition of practical spirituality. To the fanatics of Islam, it is probably the age of Alauddin Khilji, the reign of Aurangzeb, and so on.

The never-ending debate about India’s pasts contains a diversity of opinions; however, on its future destiny, these begin to converge. The RSS and BJP believe, for example, that India is destined to become a great industrial power. So did Nehru, and assorted Indian Marxists. Indeed, it is an article of faith for the burgeoning middle-class (mostly, but not entirely Hindu) that India can, should and will equal China to become a great power, economic and military (thus leaving Japan and South Korea in the dust). Continue reading The Indian Illusion: Shashank Kela

Laxmanpur Bathe, Then and Now: Monobina Gupta

Guest post by MONOBINA GUPTA

I remember a chill running down my spine that early afternoon in 1998. I was standing at Laxmanpur Bathe – the site of a cold-blooded massacre a year ago. Then a reporter with The Telegraph, I was touring Bihar, reporting on the 1998 general elections, less than two years after the United Front government came to power. Bihar was then firmly under the thumb of the redoubtable Lalu Prasad. Tensions between the Maoist Coordination Committee (MCC) and the Ranvir Sena, a private army of upper caste landlords, were running high. Every reporter visiting the area had been advised by the district magistrates concerned not to travel after sundown. Newspapers in Delhi were full of stories about Bihar’s lawlessness, extortions and abductions even in broad daylight.

I had read details of that deadly night in the newspapers; and then of the sudden trips made by VIP cavalcades to the village in the aftermath of the bloodbath. The massacre had pitched the forgotten hamlet of Dalits into the glaring spotlight. Crowds of politicians and media descended on the spot, even as the grief stricken survivors were struggling with the shock of the attack and the terrible loss of their loved ones. Continue reading Laxmanpur Bathe, Then and Now: Monobina Gupta

Get Clicked With Dead Animals for Wards’ Scholarship, Dalits told

Image

The chief architect of Indian constitution Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had declared in 1948 ‘democracy in India is a top-dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic.’ How true this is, even after sixty years of Indian democracy! Why have all the legal provisions, and valiant struggles of dalits to emancipate themselves failed to annihilate Caste system? As the ruling elites of India celebrate their arrival on the world scene, these are the skeletons in the cupboards of their rule they are most ashamed to admit.  Continue reading Get Clicked With Dead Animals for Wards’ Scholarship, Dalits told

Ilavarasan: At a deadly new junction of caste and electoral politics: Rajan Kurai Krishnan

ilavarasan_divya-350_070513040519This is a guest post by RAJAN KURAI KRISHNAN

The gruesome death/alleged murder of Ilavarasan, a Dalit youth, at the outskirts of Dharmapurai on the afternoon of 4th July has come as a shock to all those who have heard of his case. Murders, ironically called honour killings, and socially abetted suicides as outcomes of inter-caste marriages are of course as common as catching cold in most parts of India. However, what has made Ilavarasan’s case something that could penetrate the armour of the middle class everyday plated with trained nonchalance to extract a possible expletive under their breath is the fact that his case has been in the limelight for more than eight months now.

It was a few weeks after his marriage with Divya, a girl belonging to the caste of Vanniars, a Most Backward Caste in the official description of Tamil Nadu Government,  in October 2012, Divya’s father was found dead allegedly having committed suicide due to the “dishonour” caused by his daughter’s marriage. Making the suicide an excuse, the Vanniyars organized riots in which three Dalit hamlets, about 250 houses, were destroyed. The scale of violent destruction caught the national attention and so did the love story behind the riots. The young couple earned a media profile while trying to live in peace beyond the reach of the raging Vanniyar caste men. It was fated that was not to be. The Vanniar caste leaders used Divya’s mother to temporarily separate Divya from Ilavarasan by using the well known tactics of emotional blackmail. They then broke the communication link between Ilavarasan and Divya. When Ilavarasan saw Divya in the court on the first of July, Divya told the court that she would live with Ilavarasan after convincing her mother. Divya’s lawyer, however, managed to make her tell the press that she is separated from Ilavarasan forever. Ilavarasan, on the other hand, told India Today, that he was highly hopeful of re-uniting with Divya. After two days, he was found dead near a railway track in broad daylight. Given this history, the news had some potential to shock people. Continue reading Ilavarasan: At a deadly new junction of caste and electoral politics: Rajan Kurai Krishnan

‘After falling in love, I saw the reality of caste’: E. Ilavarasan

Dalit youth E. ILAVARASAN, whose marriage to a Vanniyar girl had resulted in caste violence in Tamil Nadu last year, was found dead on a railway track yesterday. Given below is an interview Ilavarasan gave to KAVIN MALAR and was published in the Tamil edition of India Today magazine. This translation is by PRAKASH VENKATESAN.

ilavarasan_divya-350_070513040519

Did you realise you were going to be in the headlines in TN when you got married?

No. Certainly not. I thought ours would be just like any other marriage. Divya thought so too. We thought they (Divya’s parents) would be angry initially but can be eventually reconciled. We simply did not expect these things would happen. I now can really understand the horrendous nature of caste and the heinous things it is capable of after falling in love.

Why do you think Divya is suddenly saying now that she wants to go with her mother? Continue reading ‘After falling in love, I saw the reality of caste’: E. Ilavarasan

Killing it softly over two decades: Agrima Bhasin

NCSK cartoon for Kafila

This is a guest post by AGRIMA BHASIN: No different from the caste hierarchy in India, the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) enjoys a marginal status, at the bottom, in the power hierarchy of commissions. “Why,” asked Former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, “is it that the Commission for Safai Karamcharis is being subjected to the same discrimination as the safai karamcharis themselves? This is not something to be proud of.” He minced no words at the Conference of Welfare Ministers of States in 1996, to guilt the august gathering into recognising their culpability in deliberately weakening a competent commission. Continue reading Killing it softly over two decades: Agrima Bhasin

मोदी: तिलिस्म और हक़ीकत

– सुभाष गाताडे

जुल्म

तशद्दुद

झूठ

बग़ावत

आगजनी

खूं

कर्फ्यू

फायर ….

हमने इन्हें बिरसे में दिए हैं

ये बच्चे

क्या देंगे हमको ???

(कविता: बच्चे – मुसाफि़र पालनपुरी,

‘कुछ तो कहो यारों!’ सम्पादन: आयशा खान)

1

नूरा कुश्ती की समाप्ति के बाद

 

सियासत में आपसी सत्ता-संघर्ष अक्सर व्यक्तियों के इर्दगिर्द सिमटते दिखते हैं। Continue reading मोदी: तिलिस्म और हक़ीकत

दो कठ्ठा ज़मीन : किशोर

Guest post by KISHORE

बच्चा मुसहर को सन 1986 में भूमि सुधार अधिनियम 1961 के तहत 0.26 डेसिमल (लगभग एक चौथाई एकड़) ज़मीन बिहार सरकार द्वारा दी गयी थी. इस एक्ट के तहत भूमिहीनों को ज़मींदारों से अर्जित अधिशेष भूमि दी जानी थी. बच्चा मुसहर ज़िंदगी भर सरकार द्वारा उनके नाम पर करी गयी ज़मीन पर हल चलाने को तरसते रह गए पर उन्हें अपनी ज़मीन पर कदम रखने का अवसर नहीं मिला. उन्होंने  ब्लाक, जिला और राजधानी तक ना जाने कितने दफ्तरों के चक्कर लगाये पर ज़मीन पर उनका मालिकाना हक, उस कागज़ के पुर्जे तक ही सीमित रहा.

सन 2000 में बच्चा मुसहर अपनी ज़मीन के मालिकाना हक़ के अधूरे सपने के साथ इस दुनिया से चले गए. बच्चा मुसहर को गुज़रे 13 साल बीत गए पर उनकी विधवा आज भी उस कागज़ के टुकड़े को संभाले बैठी है पर उनको ज़मीन पर कब्ज़ा नहीं मिल सका. दफ्तरों के चक्कर लगाने का सिलसिला बच्चा मुसहर के बाद उसकी विधवा और बच्चों ने भी जारी रखा पर ज़मीन की बंदोबस्ती के लगभग तीन दशकों के बाद आज भी ज़मीन उनके कब्जे में नहीं है. Continue reading दो कठ्ठा ज़मीन : किशोर

Communal Fascism in Action: Coopting the Dalits, Terrorising the Minorities

Ur-Fascism [Eternal Fascism] is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be much easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, “I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares” Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances – everyday, in every part of the world.

-Umberto Eco

 

Introduction

Politics in this part of South Asia unfolds itself in very many ways. We have before us a spectrum of regimes ranging from electoral democracies at one end to countries which could be said to be unambiguously authoritarian at the other, and some others with varying  mixes of electoral democratic and authoritarian features ‘packed in between.’ Since early 1980s we have also been witness to an emergence of right-wing populist parties and movements throughout a growing number of these countries. Appealing to public anxieties in the wake of rapid economic change, these movements have succeeded in mobilizing and exploiting popular resentments against immigrants, minorities, and the political establishment.

The eighty seven plus year journey of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – loosely translated as ‘National Volunteer Corps’ – an organisation of Hindu males, working for Hindutva and which wants to usher into Hindu Rashtra can also be looked at in this context. Continue reading Communal Fascism in Action: Coopting the Dalits, Terrorising the Minorities

Theories of Oppression and another Dialogue of Cultures: Ashis Nandy

This is the text of the Ambedkar Memorial lecture delivered by ASHIS NANDY at the India International Centre on 14 April 2012, under the auspices of Ambedkar University, Delhi.

It was published in Economic and Political Weekly, July 28, 2010

Every generation likes to believe that it is living in momentous times, witnessing the death of one world and the birth of another, negotiating what pre-war Bengali writers used to grandly call yugasandhikshana, the moment when two epochs meet. This generation of Indians too believes that it is seeing such changes and even participating in them. Perhaps they are. However, I shall argue here that, along with transitions in society and politics to which they like to stand witness, there are transitions in cultures of knowledge and states of awareness of which they may be gloriously innocent. And they perhaps try to protect that innocence. The categories we deploy to construe our world images are parts of our innermost self and to disown them is to disown parts of ourselves and jeopardise our self-esteem. Even when we struggle to shed these categories, they survive like phantom limbs do in some amputees. Or perhaps they survive the way one of Freud’s three universal fantasies, the one about immortality, does. When you imagine yourself dead, you are still there, fully alive, looking at yourself as dead. Continue reading Theories of Oppression and another Dialogue of Cultures: Ashis Nandy